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Driver accused of causing fiery I-70 crash sends family and friends a message from jail

The wife of Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos posted the message on Facebook Monday night.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado — The man suspected of causing a 28-vehicle crash that claimed four lives sent his family and supporters a message through his wife, who posted it on social media Monday night.

The man, identified by Lakewood police at Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, was arrested on suspicion of four counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault but has not yet been formally charged.

On Facebook, Nailan Gonzalez wrote, “After our visit today ... he asked me to publish this under his name.” According to the post, she has not been able to see her husband in person since last Thursday’s crash on I-70 – she’s only been able to talk to him over a jail phone system.

Credit: 9NEWS

“Mami, please publish this giving thanks on my behalf since I, unfortunately, cannot do it myself,” the post read. “God is with me; this is not fair what they’re doing to me, but I never thought that I’d have a whole world supporting me on the outside.”

Gonzalez referred to her husband differently than police, calling him Rogel Lazaro Aguilera.

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According to Lakewood police, Aguilera-Mederos was at the wheel of a tractor-trailer rig hauling lumber when it barreled into a traffic backup at speeds estimated as high as 100 mph. According to an arrest affidavit, he later told police that his brakes failed and that he tried to pass traffic on the shoulder, then swerved back into the travel lanes as he approached another big rig stopped on the shoulder.

His father, Rogel Manuel Aguilera Hernandez, also believes that the crash was caused by a brake failure. 

“I lament this so much, because my son, I am sure that my son didn’t want to kill anyone because my son has a great heart," Hernandez told 9NEWS in an interview Tuesday. "He wasn’t able to stop because his breaks didn’t respond."

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The resulting crash killed four men:

  • Doyle Harrison, 61, of Hudson.
  • William Bailey, 67, of Arvada.
  • Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24, of Denver.
  • Stanley Politano, 69, of Arvada.

“I never imagined there’d be so many people defending me,” Aguilera-Mederos’ wife wrote in the post. “Right now, my best attorneys have been the people who support me and those who have prayed for me. I yearn for the day that I can get out to give thanks.”

The post ended with grateful remarks from Aguilera-Mederos: "There is no way of paying back everything you all have done, truly I feel very grateful; without your support, none of this would have been possible.”

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Gonzalez went on to say she is also grateful for everyone’s support. She also shared a page where people can help her husband. On it, she asserts that he is innocent. As of Monday night, 267 people raised $7,156.

Gonzalez said this is the second donation page she started. The first had already sparked an overwhelming amount of support, but when she closed the account other people were asking for ways to help, she said.

Aguilera-Mederos is due in court at 10 a.m. Friday. Formal charges are expected to be filed then.

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